Psalm 23:7a “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”
How we see ourselves really does determine a good portion of how our lives will be. For instance if I see myself as an addict I will probably live in fear of abusing substances even long after I’ve stopped. Of course there is a healthy sort of fear which keeps me realizing that I don’t need to be playing around with them, but I don’t have to label myself as an addict if God has set me free, right?
The Bible tells me that “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” So, even though there are programs and good ones mind you, that teach me how to live soberly at some point I have to make a decision whether to believe them or the Word of God.
God created man and gave him dominion of the whole earth. He told him to subdue it and rule over the fish, birds and every living thing that moves on the earth. Of course we know what happened. Adam disobeyed God’s one command to not eat of a certain tree and he became enslaved to the world. He gave up his authority over the planet and became a slave of sin. So part of what Jesus Christ, the last Adam, came to do was to bring authority and dominion back to mankind.
If you look at the story of Moses and the Children of Israel you’ll see a clear example of what a slave mentality will do to you even after you have been freed. Moses led them out of Egypt and into the wilderness. They were freed from the bondage and mistreatment of Pharaoh yet they still longed to go back. It was easier to deliver Israel from the power of Pharaoh than from the power of their perception of who they were. You see being freed from the physical bondage in Egypt didn’t remove their mental slavery. God was using their time in the wilderness to prepare them to take dominion again over the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.” Obviously we know the end result. All but Moses, Joshua and Caleb, of the original Israelites, died in the desert and never entered the Land of Promise. So you see they were truly delivered but never embraced who they were so they never took over the land or lived the life God intended for them. They saw themselves as grasshoppers and God wasn’t going to give the Promised Land to grasshoppers because it wasn’t reserved for grasshoppers it was for his Children.
Sometimes it seems we bring a lot of our troubles on ourselves simply by the way we see ourselves. Some folks remain in a never ending struggle with addiction because they refuse to see themselves as a new creature in Christ. Like the Children of Israel they may have been delivered but in their heart they are secretly longing to go back. How quickly we forget how we were mistreated by the old slave master. Just as the Children of Israel only seemed to remember the good food they used to eat; addicts tend to only remember the, so called, good times they had when using. Never mind how sick or broke you were or how many times you lost a job or were arrested. No, all you can remember is the fun times. Well that is exactly why some are destined to go around the same old mountain again and again rather than entering into the land of rest. I for one decided to see myself as a free child of God who doesn’t have to be ruled over by my circumstances, former addictions or the way the world views me. Won’t you join me? What would happen if Christians actually embraced who God says we are?
The Bible teaches us that in Christ we are Holy, blameless, forgiven, complete, justified and sanctified. We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. We are the body of Christ. We are the branches joined to Christ who is the vine. We are no longer a slave to Sin but a slave to righteousness. You see in Christ we have been given back our position of dominion that was lost in Adam. God’s plan is to restore things in order to bring about his ultimate glory in a new heaven and on a new earth.
A friend of mine once told a story of a man that went to see a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist said, “How are you doing today?” The man replied “pretty good under the circumstances.” The doctor responded “Well, what are you doing under there?” We have been delivered out from under the circumstances so let’s get out from under them what do you say? Set your minds on things above “Where Christ is seated at the right hand of God…Your life is hidden with Christ in God.”